Saturday, January 04, 2014

Winter Holiday Trivia: Answers Part 2

Soon I'll be posting the final tabulations (and the winners!) of my 2013 trivia event: 25 Days of Winter Holiday Trivia. As promised, here are the answers for Days 17 through 25 (and the answers for Days 1 through 16)!

Day 17

Q: What is the European, pre-Christian symbolism associated with the use of candles at this time of year?

A: They represent the Sun, specifically the return of the Sun and light (and heat).

Day 18

Q: What is the name of the Roman solstice festival that began this week (circa 12/18/13), runs three to seven days in length, and is observed with many of the traditions now associated with Christmas (gifts, feasting, etc.)?

A: Before Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Festivus, etc., there was the Roman solstice holiday of Saturnalia, which began December 17. It honors Saturnus, who introduced agriculture and the arts of civilized life. It was the season when agricultural work was completed; a sort of joyous Thanksgiving-type holiday of relaxation and merriment. During Saturnalia, businesses, courts and schools were closed.

Bonus Question: What are the colors of this holiday? (A: The colors of the holiday are blue and gold.)

Day 19

Q: What is the esoteric meaning of these 12 ornaments used to decorate a Christmas tree?

A: In Revelations Chapter 22, the Tree of Life bore 12 Different Fruits and its leaves were for the healing of the nations.

Day 20

Q: What is one similarity between Santa and the night visitors of our older traditions?

A: Any of the following (and more besides) -- Night riding (flying), animal "familiars," expecting food offerings, arriving at midnight, living in the darkness of the far north, and special helpers.

Bonus Question: What was Nicholas' position in the church? (A: Bishop of Myra)

Day 21

Q: What is the name of the pioneer of electricity and magnetism who delivered multiple Christmas Lectures, including one on why a candle burns?

A: Michael Faraday

Day 22

Q: What is Norwegian scientist Odd Halvorsen's biological, and somewhat squirm-inducing, explanation for Rudolph's red nose?

A: Parasitic infection of his respiratory system. (The Physics of Christmas)

Bonus question: What is the problem with most representations of reindeer on Christmas cards? (A: Male reindeer would not have their antlers at this time of year).

Day 23

Q: What is the name of the Roman god whose birth from the Mother Rock was observed by nearby shepherds?

A: Mithra

Bonus Question: Who were the primary followers of this deity's mystery religion?  (A: Roman military)

Day 24

Q: Who invented the Christmas card?

A: The very first Christmas card was commissioned by Sir Henry Cole and illustrated by John Callcott Horsley. If you gave either name, you got credit!

Bonus question: In what year did he publish the first Christmas card?  (A: 1843)

Day 25

Q: What is the Dutch name for Saint Nicholas?

A: Sinterklass.

Bonus Question: For one extra point,  what three things did Scott Calvin (played by Tim Allen) do that forced him to become Santa (in the movie, "The Santa Clause")?  

A: Calvin read the card, put on Santa's suit (starting with the hat), and entered the sleigh and delivered gifts, thus fulfilling the "Santa Clause" (see also 3rd paragraph under Plot in the Disney Wiki entry). 

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